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What(1)Physical health is more than merely the absence of symptoms. Ditto financial health.

Just being not-sick doesn’t mean you’re actually well. Ever know someone who seemed fine until the heart attack? It’s likely he had underlying issues such as poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle.

Now: Ever know someone who seemed fine until the bankruptcy? Chances are he had issues, too, such as compulsive spending or champagne tastes and a tap-water budget.

He’s not alone: According to the Center for Financial Services Innovation, 57 percent of U.S. adults struggle financially.

We get annual physicals because catching a problem early beats trying to cure an entrenched ailment. Our finances need checkups, too.

 


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th-1My personal-finance pal J. Money started an interesting conversation over at Budgets Are Sexy. A reader asked if it were “a poor decision” to use an item for years, then return it for a refund.

(That’s even a question?)

In “Returning used stuff – cool or no?,” J. Money said he wrote back to the reader saying, among other things, that this was a question of personal ethics. The blogger added that he would not return anything unless it was broken or otherwise not delivering on its promise.

(In his wild youth he’d returned a used boombox two days before the return window expired, and was thoroughly shamed by the customer service rep before he got his refund. Lesson learned!)

The reader then shared that he’d needed to move and “just couldn’t throw out my bedroom set that was in perfect condition and 10 years old.” (Emphasis added.) So he took it back to Costco and, unbelievably, the store refunded his money.

 


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thWho knew the amount of work it takes to self-publish a book?!? Answer: Everyone who’s already done it or is working on it now.

I’m firmly in the latter camp. About 10 days ago I finished writing and editing “Your Playbook For Tough Times.” Sort of.

Even as I rejoiced that the work was done (a butt dance may or may not have been involved), I felt a bit uneasy. Within a day or two my subconscious was nagging: “Aren’t a couple of those chapters a little bloated?”

No! Shut up! It’s done and it looks GREAT!

In fact, I was so sure it was done that I sent it off to a few people who’d offered to read/critique the thing. And then last Saturday evening I sat down to take “just a quick look” at the manuscript. You can guess what happened next.

 


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thWhen I gave away e-copies of “Frugality For Depressives: Money-Saving Tips For Those Who Find Life A Little Harder,” some of my readers (and my daughter’s, too) said they were waiting for the physical edition. Either they don’t have e-readers or they, like me, prefer to hold a book in their hands.

I can help with that. The trade paperback edition of the book is now available, and I’m giving away three copies.

Naturally a mom would think her kid’s book is splendid. But I’m not the only one who thinks the book can help depressives and the chronically ill.

 


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th-2Dear Members of the Class of 2016,

You’ve gotten that diploma and landed a job – maybe even your dream job. Now that your career has officially begun, it’s time to think about how it will end.

Even though the ink is barely dry on your new business cards, you need to focus on retirement – specifically, on the need to save for it either through the workplace or on your own. Retirement is decades away but your new best friend, compound interest, is here right now.

Some financial experts say you need $1 million or more for your old age. The median starting salary for the class of 2014 was $45,478, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Your mileage may vary, of course. If you majored in something like early childhood education, music or communications your paycheck is more likely to be in the $31,500 to $39,800 range. Or maybe you haven’t landed the right job just yet and are making do with retail or other gigs.

Scary, huh? But you have a secret weapon: Time.

 


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